Gang members and ex gang members were interviewed and asked the following questions… Reasons for Joining and Remaining Involved in Gangs • Why did you first become involved in a gang? • Why do you think you stayed in the gang for so long? • In your opinion, what are the good things about being a gang member? What are the benefits?
Why do you think? • Think, Pair , Share • List as many reasons as you can to explain why young people might join a gang
Reason #1 Power and Respect • •“It’s like people in my neighbourhood give you respect when you is in the gang. They know who you are and they don’t mess. Nobody knew me before I got involved. Now I’m famous in my area. People know me now”(male, 22 years). • •“I like the respect. I like the power. You walk into a place with your boys and people notice you, ladies notice you. Ya got status, you can swagger. People know you ain’t no punk”(male, 19 years).
Reason #2 Money • •“I like it for the money. We made lots of money sellin drugs and stealin and ripping people off. I got to buy stuff I could not get with no job at Macdonalds. In this world ya got to have some bling”(male 21 years). • •“Obviously I do it for the cash. If there weren’t no money in it I’d be gone. But the cash is good man. Bought me a car, some clothes, gave me money for the club, got me money to get women, gave me money to help my moms”(male 20 years).
Reason #3 Money and Respect • I’m not workin’ at Macdonalds or some place like that. That’s slavery. They pay you shit and make you dress like a goof and have some punk manager order you around. Nobody respects some guy flippin burgers or wearing some stupid ref shirt at Foot Locker. I make real cheddar in the gang, we are our own bosses, and we get plenty more respect from people cause of the money we got and because we never sell out”(male 22 years).
Reason #4 Protection • •“In my area, man, if you ain’t with a gang your gonna get punked and jumped all the time. If ya can’t beat em join em. The gang got your back and people don’t mess with you cause they know you got backup”(female 19). • •“Hey, one of the reasons I joined is because I was scared. Got beat up a couple of times, got jumped and had my walkman stolen and my money. I needed backup cause I can’t fight these guys on my own”(male 18).
Reason #5 Social Support and Companionship • “The gang is like my family man. They got my back. When you need something like some clothes or some food or some money or a place to crash they are there. When you need to talk they are there. When you got a beef they got your back. I love these guys man. They are my blood, my heart”(male 22 years). • •The guys in my gang, we are all from the same neighbourhood. The projects. We grew up together from small. They are family. It is like us against the world. We respect each other, support each other. Nobody in the outside world helps, or cares, so it is up to us. That’s it man. Family”(male 20 years).
Reason #6 Social Alienation and Defiance • “What chance has a guy like me got in the real world. A poor black guy? Schools are shit, teachers don’t think you can do the work. Nobody’s gonna give me a job. So I’ll get paid and live in another way, in another world where I can get respect and nobody cares what I look like or where I come from. I know I’ll probably die young or go to jail, but what other chance is there?”(male 22).
Social Alienation and Defiance (continued) • “I’m poor and white. Poor whites get nothin in Canada. I can’t claim racism, can’t get no special programming or special help in school. I’m no refugee. Your white and a guy so nobody gives you any sympathy. They just expect you to be okay. Immigrants get all the jobs and breaks. So I just give up and will do the crime thing. At least you have fun, get respect from your friends. When you don’t give a shit you stop worrying and it’s not so bad. Drugs and drinking help to”(male 19).
What do these really mean? • Power and Respect • Money • Money and Respect • Protection • Social Support and Companionship • Social Alienation and Defiance
People who join Gangs could be looking for… • Power and Respect: Opportunity to feel empowered, respected, valued, heard, acknowledged, proud • Money: opportunity to earn a sufficient living • Money and Respect: opportunity to earn money respectfully in a job they don’t perceive as being degrading or below them • Protection: a feeling of safety and security • Social Support and Companionship: a sense of community, positive relationships • Social Alienation and Defiance: justice, equal treatment, involvement, inclusion, acceptance, opportunity, respect, support